Mark was permitted to stay until six that evening and even though neither he nor Chiara liked the time restriction of his visit, they had no choice and just had to obey the order. Chiara wanted Mark to call her when he got home. She didn’t have a cell phone but before Mark left, he asked the police officers if he was allowed to call Chiara in her room. They explained to him that all the calls she would receive, would have to go through them and were monitored. Mark basically had no choice that any call he would make to Chiara would possibly be listened in on.
He explained this to Chiara and she said softly, “I don’t care if they want to listen to us. If it’s the only way I can make sure you can call me and tell me that you made it home safely, then I’m okay with it.”Mark nodded, “I feel the same way. I’ve nothing to hide. They can hear whatever I have to say to you.”
Mark wrote down the phone number on a piece of paper. He would program it into his phone later.
He pushed his wheelchair close to her bed and Chiara leaned over some to be able to kiss him. They held each other for a few moments and kissed gently.
It was difficult to let go of each other but Mark finally freed himself of Chiara’s embrace and when he looked at her, he saw her eyes were glistening again.
“I want you to get a good nights’ sleep. I’ll be back here tomorrow at eleven.”Chiara nodded and repeated her request once more, “Make sure you call me when you’re at home.”
“I will, I promise.”
He smiled at her trying to leave her in a somewhat cheerful way.
She managed a weak smile and scanning his face she said, “I love you Mark.”
He smiled at her still, “I love you too. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
At the door he looked back at Chiara once more and she waved her hand at him, “Bye.”
He nodded and put his hands to his rims, wheeling out of the room.He signed out on the iPad, checked out his belongings and explained to the officers, “I’ll probably call her in a little while.”
Officer Barrington replied, “That’s fine, we’ll intercept the call and then transfer to her.”
Mark nodded and the other officer handed him his personal belongings. Mark didn’t bother attaching his back pack to his handles but just left it on his lap and nodding at the officers he pushed his rims and wheeled away.
On his way home he picked up dinner in a drive through and then made his way to his apartment. There were Christmas lights all over the city and it was getting cold. Christmas had snuck up on Mark with everything that had been going on. In the past he had spent Christmas usually at one of his friend’s houses. He wasn’t really prepared but at the same time he didn’t have anyone to worry about until now. Chiara was now in his life and he thought about what he could get her for Christmas and he went over the time line and was thinking about if she could possibly be home with him for Christmas. Her surgery was planned for Monday morning, Christmas was the following Monday. Most likely she would be spending Christmas in the hospital but then he would just be with her there.
At his apartment complex he got out of his car the usual way, his TiLite set up right next to his car. It was a cold night and as he locked the door, he realized there were tiny snow flakes falling. He looked up at the sky for a moment, no stars were visible as clouds covered it.
The Honda Accord had left in the morning after Mark had left his apartment to meet up with Officer Collins at the hospital and visit with Chiara. Mark had been gone all day and the Honda had come back in the afternoon and the two men inside had been taking turns watching Mark’s parking spot under the car port in front of his apartment. And now they were watching him again as he pushed his rims and wheeled up to his front door with his back pack on his lap.
The guy with the phone taking pictures of Mark said, “It looks like the dude can’t walk at all.”The other guy in the car replied, “Yeah, I guess not. He’ll be fucked once Trey gets to him.”
“Did you hear from Trey?”
“He texted earlier and said he’s down in Eugene but will try to make his way up here in the next few days. Said the cops are still on his trail. Says we just need to hold out up here until he can contact Fatso and Vajaros to take over for us. So, we just need to keep an eye on the cripple. He said we can follow the cripple to where ever he’s going tomorrow and call Trey’s other phone with an update with whatever we find out.”
“Okay.” The guy with the phone took another picture as Mark disappeared into his apartment.
Before he started eating, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed the hospital number. At first the phone was answered by the nurse’s station coordinator on the ninth floor where Chiara was. He asked to speak to Chiara and they transferred him and a moment later a police officer answered the phone.
It wasn’t Officer Barrington and it wasn’t the other officer from the daytime shift. Mark didn’t recognize the voice but asked to speak to Chiara.He was put on hold for a moment and then the officer came back on, “Okay, I’m transferring you to her right now.”
It took a moment and he heard Chiara’s voice on the other end, “Hello?”
"Chiara, it’s me.”“Mark, are you at home?”
“Yes, at home, all good.”
Mark asked, “Did you eat dinner yet?”“Yes, I’m still eating on it. You?”
Mark explained to Chiara what he was eating for dinner and they talked for just a few moments, hanging up with the understanding to see each other in the morning.
Mark spent his evening watching TV and relaxing on the couch. He had brought his Beretta in from his car and it was lying next to him on the table, in reach if he should need it. He had made sure his door was locked and he kept his cell phone close as well, 911 on speed dial with one push of a button.
Before he got ready for bed, he checked his door once more and looked out through the blinds on his living room window. He could see his Challenger parked under the car port and he also saw a thin layer of snow on the ground. The parking lot seemed quiet. He didn’t know the Honda Accord had just left about ten minutes earlier just to be back in the morning.
Mark’s night was all but quiet. He woke up in cold sweat after he had dreamt of strange things. Chiara had been in the dream and he had been in his active duty time, in uniform and while in his dream Chiara held the Beretta in her hands, he had his M-16 in front of him, pointing it at her, and still standing on his two legs.
He woke himself when in his dream he had fired the gun and most likely had screamed in reality. He ripped open his eyes and stared into the dark room. He looked over at the lit-up clock on his bedside table, it was three o’clock in the morning.
His face was damp from sweat and his chest was moving up and down quickly as he was breathing heavily. He hoped the neighbors had not heard him but his neighbors knew about his problems so even if they did hear him, they most likely didn’t think anything of it. He had told them soon after he had moved in that he was having lots of nightmares and sometimes would wake up screaming. He now lay in his bed and was trying to replay the dream in his mind. He was still shocked at the fact that he had been pointing his M-16 at Chiara in the dream. Quickly the dream though faded in his mind and he could barely remember the images of it.
He was left confused and rattled though and pushed himself up on his arms and looked into the room. Ranger was still rolled up by his feet and Mark looked over at the cell phone and the Beretta on his night table. He listened into the darkness but it was quiet except for the usual humming of the refrigerator in his kitchen.
He just sat there for a few moments, just collecting himself again. Eventually he let himself fall back onto the pillow but he couldn’t find sleep anymore. He grabbed his phone and looked over his social media some. There was nothing new though and he dropped the phone next to him on the bed again. Mark felt his heart beat fast and he felt restless, still thinking about the dream. He thought about how much he was ready to have Chiara with him in his apartment and sleep next to him at night. He needed her and he longed for her to be with him. He hoped very much that this would be sooner than later.
When he couldn’t find any sleep, he decided to just get up at almost five in the morning. He spent his morning watching TV and playing video games trying to get his mind occupied with other thoughts than the nightmare he had had and the worries that somewhat had inhibited his mind.
The Honda pulled up around nine again and parked in the far corner of the parking lot and with their breakfast sandwiches from Burger King in their hands and drinking their coffees, the two men glanced at the Challenger parked under the carport, satisfied that Mark was apparently still home and they were planning to follow him to where ever he would go that day.
Mark was sitting on the chair in his shower letting the water run over his body and he kept moving his legs over the side as they kept falling apart and also twitching with strong spasms that morning. He was tired still from a less than average night of sleep. The water felt good on his upper body and he just sat there letting his thoughts drift. He was looking forward to seeing Chiara soon. He was planning to be at the hospital right at eleven.
After the shower he got dressed and ate breakfast.He made sure Ranger was fed before he grabbed his backpack again, “You be good for me, okay.”
Ranger meowed like he actually answered and Mark added, “I know, I’m sorry I’ve to leave you here alone all day but I have to be with Chiara. Remember her?”
Ranger rubbed around Mark’s feet on the footrest and Mark said, “Remember Chiara brought you Maddy. Hang out with Maddy while I’m gone.”
With that Mark stuck the Beretta into the waistband of his jeans and then made his way out of the apartment. There was still a thin layer of snow on the ground. It looked nice with everything covered in the white powder, everything looked cleaner and more peaceful right away.
As he stashed his backpack into the Challenger and then transferred himself over and disassembled his TiLite, the guy in the Honda took a couple more photos, zooming in on Mark.
Mark didn’t even realize when he pulled out of the parking lot that the Honda also slowly made its way across the parking lot and pulled out onto the main road only two cars behind Mark.
At the hospital they parked just far away enough where Mark had no idea they were there and watching him again as he got out of his car and into his wheelchair.
Now they sent a text message: Cripple is at Swedish hospital, getting out and going in, not sure what he is doing here
And a cell phone received this message and Trey’s dark eyes scanned over the message as he was sitting in the passenger seat of a dark SUV heading for the Oregon coast, still trying to lose law enforcement on his trail.
Trey debated texting his cohorts to stay on Mark’s tail and find out what he was doing at the hospital.
His mind was working as he thought about the night he got away from the cops in Portland. It all had started because he had left his phone in the room with Chiara after he had fucked her. And he had left her there, had locked the door when he realized he had left his cell phone up there. When he went back up Chiara was holding his cell phone sitting right there on the bed in the small room under the roof. And he had ripped the phone from her hands and she had started crying. He had left her sitting on the bed and downstairs he found the messages she had sent from his phone to that guy Mark.
His thoughts drifted to how she had been right by the window when he had stormed into the room again to discipline her after he had found the messages because he then knew that it was because of Chiara texting that guy that the cops had showed up out there.
He now looked at the messages again and his rage was silently building as he thought about the guy who had taken Chiara away from him and the guy who had fucked up things for them. He was certain now Chiara had been with the guy after she had disappeared for a few days a couple of weeks earlier.
His thoughts were racing as he thought about the whole situation. He didn’t know why this guy had such power over her that she had actually tried to leave the life she had known with him behind. This was a guy who was fucked up in a wheelchair and probably couldn’t even fuck a woman the way she needed it.
In Trey’s mind compared to other girls, Chiara had had it good with him. He hadn’t made her be out on the street seven days a week or when the weather was bad. He had given her days off, had treated her to spa days often and he had given her nice things to keep her happy. In his mind he had treated her good, sometimes she just needed some direction and when she had been her stubborn self, he had to get rough with her to keep her at bay. It shouldn’t have been such a problem; his mom’s boyfriends had always done those things to his mom and usually afterwards she would be quiet and obedient for a while.
Hell, her boyfriends had done those things to him and it had always worked to keep him quiet. He used to cry when he was a young boy but with time, he realized that it was just the way things were and women needed a heavy hand at times, just like kids did too. Sometimes just a beating hadn’t been enough, sometimes other measures had to be taken but yes, men were in charge and kids and women needed to keep their mouths shut.
Chiara had been his from the start, she had always been the hottest chick in his circles and she was his and only his and every idiot knew to not even think about getting with her. He had given her a good life and he definitely hadn’t wanted to lose her to some cripple motherfucker in a wheelchair. He had to take care of this guy and show Chiara that she was always going to be his.
He pondered if for some reason Chiara was not in Portland anymore and he really didn’t know what had happened after she had been such a dumb bitch and had jumped out of that window while he stood there in the doorframe watching. Maybe he had scared her because he had been holding his gun. The cops had been in the process to surround the building but his buddies Ghost and Jose had already brought the car around to the front of the house and after Chiara had jumped, he had quickly ran downstairs and outside, shooting in the process as he jumped into the car and Ghost had floored it and they had sped away.
He didn’t know if Chiara had made it or what had happened to her really. Now he saw her face in his mind and she was smiling and he felt kind of shitty if she actually had not survived the jump out of the window. Why had she been so stupid, he would have taken her with him after all. He could have sorted it out with her even though for some reason she had texted that crippled asshole that she was scared. He could have sorted it out somehow. He read over the messages and his eyes became small and he went over to his gallery and looked at some of Chiara’s pictures. She had always been a hot chick and that’s why those idiots wanted her, all of them and yeah, they could have her but they all were paying for her. She hadn’t been for free to any asshole ever. He was the only one who got Chiara for free and she was his property and he would annihilate the crippled motherfucker who had been trying to take her away from him.
Trey’s rage was boiling inside of him as he sat in the car staring at the pictures on his phone of Chiara in her hottest outfits. And he couldn’t wait to get to Mark.
Mark was checked in before he could enter Chiara’s room and he had to leave his belongings with the police officers. He was compliant because all he wanted was to see Chiara.
As he entered her room, she had her eyes closed and slowly opened them when he rolled into the room. She smiled sleepily, “Mark.”He pushed his rims slowly, coming around to the side of the bed and she followed him with her eyes.
He smiled at her, “Good morning sleepyhead.”
She reached her hand out to him and he took it into his and kissed the back of it, “How are you doing this morning?”
Chiara’s voice was soft, “I was in a lot of pain last night. I’m sleepy from the pain meds.”
Mark nodded, “I see. Are you in pain right now?”
She moved her head from side to side slowly, “Not right now, but probably kind of high from the pain meds.”
Mark was surprised to hear her laugh softly and he smiled at her, “Well, sounds like you’re in a good mood though.”
“I’m glad to see you Mark. I missed you. Did you sleep good?”
Mark thought about his night and how it had been rough but he didn’t want to tell Chiara about it, "Yeah, I slept all right.”
“How are Ranger and Maddy?”
He still smiled, “They’re good, very much in love.”
Chiara laughed again a soft laugh. She was definitely on some heavy pain meds.“I can’t wait to see them.”
Mark realized she was still referring to the cat and the stuffed animal.
He looked down at her propped up right leg, “So you’ve been in pain?”“Are they still planning on doing the surgery tomorrow?”
She turned serious, “Yes, it has been hurting so much last night, my leg was pulsating from the pain.”
She turned serious, “Yes, it has been hurting so much last night, my leg was pulsating from the pain.”
She nodded, “Yes, I’m so nervous and scared.”
Her eyes closed for a moment and Mark realized she was drowsy. He just held her hand and looked at her as she laid there with her eyes closed and her lips parted slightly.
Chiara didn’t make a sound anymore and she seemed to be sleeping. Mark just sat there and watched her quietly. He thought about the dream from the night before and pondered what it had meant and why he had dreamt something like that.
Chiara slept and Mark just sat there. There was nothing else he could do but hold her limp hand in his hand and watch her sleep.
So much he wanted it all to be over, he wanted her to done with all of it. He wanted her with him and he wanted to be happy with her. He wanted her to be able to walk again and he wanted her body to be healed. He wanted her to not have to be scared anymore. He wanted to have her with him, in his place, next to him in his bed and he wanted her to tell him again all the things she had told him about the way she felt about him. He remembered it all and he wanted to hear it again because he needed to hear it. He longed to be wanted by her and he wanted to be everything for her because he wanted her just as much.
Chiara didn’t wake up and only when the nurse came in to check on her Mark was distracted for a moment.
The nurse looked from Chiara to Mark, “She had a rough night last night.”Mark sat up a bit, “She did?”
“Yeah, apparently she was in a lot of pain and was dealing with some anxiety and also some bad dreams. We put her on a slight sedative to keep her calm and relaxed. She was crying and she wanted to call you in the middle of the night.”
Mark was stunned to hear this and looked from the nurse to Chiara, “Is she going to be okay?”
The nurse replied warmly, “Yes, she’s just dealing with a lot of things. She’s a very strong woman though. She’ll have surgery first thing in the morning and after that it’s only uphill.”
“What are they going to do?”
“The doctor will come in later on this afternoon and talk to her again. You can hear it all directly from him or ask him any questions.”
Mark nodded and rubbed his thumb over her hand.The nurse finished, “Well, it’s good she’s sleeping right now. She needs to rest.”
The nurse left again and Mark just looked over Chiara’s face again. He felt tired himself and he pushed his wheelchair closer to the bed. He really didn’t want to wake her up and at hearing about her night, he was sure she needed rest. He crossed his arms on the bed and laid his head on them. It didn’t take long and to the humming of the heater he quickly dozed off too.
Outside a light snow was falling and the afternoon soon turned dusk. When Mark woke up with a startle he was confused for a moment until he remembered where he was at. He lifted his head and looked at Chiara and was surprised to find her awake and looking at him.
He rubbed over his face, “Chiara, why didn’t you wake me up?”She let her hand run over his hair and smiled, “You slept so deep.”
Mark looked around for a clock, “What time is it?”
Mark was somewhat irritated at hearing this, “What? Shit!”
Chiara said softly, “It’s all right. You needed your sleep apparently. I just woke up a little while ago.”
Mark slowly straightened himself up again. He was somewhat frustrated at thinking about having to leave at six already. Basically, he had slept through five hours of his visit with Chiara.
He looked at her, “The nurse said earlier you had a rough night last night.”
Chiara lowered her eyes, “Yeah, that’s true.”“I was dreaming strange things and I was scared and in pain. I wanted to call you but they didn’t let me.”
“What was going on?”
“What was going on?”
Mark nodded, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I had a rough night too really.”
Chiara seemed to focus in on him and reached her hand over, “What was going on?”
“I was dreaming some weird stuff too. I do all the time really.”
She scanned his face, “Is it from when you got hurt?”
He lowered his eyes, “Not so much last night. It was other stuff. I was actually in uniform, still on two legs and I saw myself holding my gun and pointing it at people.”
He didn’t dare say that he had seen Chiara in his dream and that he had been pointing his gun at her, “I woke up kind of shook up and couldn’t really get to sleep anymore. I really only had about four hours of sleep.”Chiara smiled warmly, “No wonder you were tired and me too.”
“But now we wasted our visiting time.”
Chiara ran her hand over his cheek, “It’s all right, you come again tomorrow and the next day, and the next day and all the days thereafter.”
Mark looked at her, “I can’t wait until you are with me at my place all the time.”
“Me neither. I can’t wait to see you every minute of the day and night and to spend every moment with you.”
Mark nodded and took her hand in his and his blue eyes met her green eyes, “I love you.”
Chiara smiled, “I love you Mark.”
He sat up taller in his wheelchair, “I want to lay next to you at least for the last hour.”
Chiara let go off his hand and moved over some. She watched as Mark angled his wheelchair and with his fist on the bed and the other under his legs he focused for a few seconds, sitting somewhat hunched over and then he went for the transfer onto the bed.
He landed on the bed, his legs were still hanging off the bed but he pushed himself up some and then leaned over Chiara and looked at her face, “I hate that I slept through this visit.”
“It’s okay my sweet Mark. We’ll be together many more days and for a long time hopefully. Come here.”
She now wrapped her arms around Mark and he leaned over some more and they fell into a gentle kiss, Mark still careful not to hurt Chiara.When they let go, she whispered, “I love you so much.”
“I love you too.”
The doctor came in shortly after and talked about the surgery once more and Mark found out that they were going to use screws in Chiara’s ankle to fuse it together and she was not going to be able to put any weight really on her ankle for about five to six months. Since it was not a clean fracture, they couldn’t just put a cast on her leg but had to keep it wrapped up and she would maybe be in a boot but wouldn’t be able to put any weight on her foot and would have to use crutches or a scooter.
Chiara didn’t look very happy about it all and Mark was worried to hear about the outlook of the time after surgery but he tried to be strong and confident, “We got this.”
She nestled herself to him and right after the doctor had left one of the officers came in and ordered Mark to finish up his visit.
Their Good Bye was somewhat emotional, Chiara was scared and worried and she held on tight to Mark. He held her to him and said, “It’ll work out, you got this and I’ll be here when you wake up from the surgery tomorrow.”They eventually finished up and Mark was at the door and looked at her once more as she cried a few tears and he said, “I love you. I’ll be here tomorrow when you wake up.”
Chiara said softly, “I love you.”
As Mark got into his car, the two men in the Honda Accord got ready to follow him back home to his place.
Mark didn’t have any idea they were following him and after he picked up a dinner again, he drove home and went inside under the watchful eyes of the two spies.
One of them texted Trey: Cripple is at his place again. We have a feeling that maybe Chiara is in that hospital
Trey got the message and replied: We should be up in Seattle tomorrow. Staying in Astoria for tonight
Trey pondered if Chiara possibly survived the jump and somehow had made it back to Seattle. He would have to find out.